When Breckenridge Community Garden comes into existence this summer, Summit County will tally five community gardens serving nearly 200 plot holders and one elementary school.
High Country Conservation Center has largely spearheaded the movement. They are heading up the Breckenridge garden and they also run Frisco's The Living Classroom greenhouse and community garden. Nancy's Garden and Silvana's Community Garden service Frisco and Silverthorne, respectively, but are run through different agencies.
The new Breckenridge garden was supposed to be coupled with a recycling and educational facility nearby, at the corner of Airport and Coyne Valley Roads, but Summit County Government wanted to hold off for now to create a task force to examine some concerns before building the project.
High Country Conservation Center's Jen Santry worked instead with Colorado Mountain College to put a community garden in place for this summer. If there's enough interest, a second garden could spring up in the proposed recycling facility.
Putting the larger project on hold "was both good and bad," Santry said. "It meant I had to go elsewhere for a garden, which didn't turn out to be too hard."
Santry expects to begin building raised beds as soon as the next couple of weeks, depending on weather and volunteer day availability. There will be 40 plots in a 50x128 foot area, with eight plots set aside for Colorado Mountain College students.
"There will be a space for an outdoor classroom," she said. "There will be nice fencing and signage around it. ... It gives a community feel and a sense that it's your spot."
She wants to do the same at The Living Classroom in Frisco, too.
The Breckenridge project, expected to cost roughly $6,000, is funded mostly by the Town of Breckenridge with some support from the Colorado Garden Show. Support also comes from the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP), which includes the landfill, primary recycling center and composting facility. Santry estimated the value of the soil provided to Silvana's Community Garden alone is worth $10,000 if sold commercially, and SCRAP lends a hand to each community garden.
Summit Landscaping is also a partner for the Breckenridge Community Garden (they also helped out with The Living Classroom).
Aside from building an entirely new garden, Santry has a few more tricks up her sleeve to continue to grow the gardens. She wants to encourage the "community" part of the gardens with more social events, seed swaps, educational seminars and more. The Vail Echo youth garden will likely take on a recycled look this year, with bathtubs, sinks and more becoming planters.
The gardens aren't sold out yet. Applications are still being accepted for remaining plots at The Living Classroom in Frisco, and the process is just getting started for the Breckenridge garden.
Contact Jen Santry at jen@highcountryconservation for more information or to apply.